Ping Tung City is the capital of Ping Tung County, Taiwan. Located in southernmost Taiwan, Ping Tung is a picture of culture and beauty. The city boasts of magnificent mountains, seashore as far as 146 km, a beautiful undersea world, as well as a variety of farming, fishing and livestock industry. Ping Tung is also a city rich in cultural diversity, with people of different language and tribes living together.
In the middle of this beautiful city, a church, headed by Ge Zhao Xing and his wife Josephine, shines with a beauty and strength of its own. Ping Tung Peace Church, an affiliate of City Harvest Church, is experiencing great revival. Taiwan is a country where the population of Christians stands at only five percent. Despite the low percentage of Christians in the nation, Ge believes strongly that growth and revival are possible.
Already the largest and fastest-growing church in Ping Tung, the church is actively contributing to the community in terms of creative culture, service, instilling good values in the youth, as well as raising awareness of Christianity in the city.
According to Ge, the greatest breakthrough for the church came when he went for a conference organized by CHC, where its founder and senior pastor, Kong Hee was preaching. During the conference, he realized there were limitless possibilities and many new areas of growth for the church that they had yet to tap into. Armed with new visions and greater faith, Ge went back to his home church and began planting the seeds for future revival. The church began to experience a great spiritual hunger, and that became the catalyst for what God would do in Ping Tung Peace Church in the next few years.
In 2004, opportunities arose for Ge to work more closely with Kong as the Singaporean pastor began traveling to Ping Tung to preach. In 2005, Ge was inspired to join the School of Theology in Singapore. It was a life-changing experience for the Taiwanese pastor, who said that the teachers imparted not just theological knowledge and the practical know-how of leading a church, but also ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Ge’s time in SOT also gave him opportunity to observe CHC’s leadership and members. He noted that there was a certain “DNA” in the congregation, which flowed out of the teachings by Kong. Church growth tools such as the caring system, home cell group meetings and the cultural mandate were widely practised in the church. The great unity and love in the congregation also touched Ge greatly.
Upon his return to Ping Tung, Ge began a new work in his church. Given that his congregation was dominated by youth between 13 to 22 years old, he started a youth ministry. With the new skills and ideas he received, Ge began training up youth leaders to helm the campus ministry in his church. The campus ministry grew to be very successful, with hundreds of students getting saved over the years.
These youth leaders started youth cell groups. The cell group system helped to close the “back door” of the church, by ensuring that every individual who came to the church became deeply rooted, through strong friendships and connections with members in the church.
Furthermore, Ge also encouraged his members to release their creativity and talent, and use them as tools to spread the message of God’s love. Leading by example, Ge wrote a worship song titled “Wo Yuan Yi” (“I’m Willing”), which celebrates God’s sacrificial love for all man. With all these bold initiatives, modern praise and worship grew in the church. Contemporary songs written by CHC’s worship team, among others, have been translated into Mandarin and sung in the church.
Fun and enriching camps that involved many youth, and grooming workshops that helped raise the self-confidence of the members, were just a few of many creative activities that enjoyed resounding success in the church. In July 2008, Kong, together with volunteers from CHC, organized a youth camp together with Ge and his leaders. Kong ministered and inspired them to continue advancing the kingdom of God. The people of Ping Tung Peace Church were passionate in following and fulfilling the vision, and as a result, the entire church has since grown to a whole new level.
But the journey was not always a bed of roses—there were setbacks. Ge found that having a congregation of youth gave the church great vibrancy and energy, but it also meant that the church lacked stability, as the students would sometimes leave the church upon graduation, and move to a different part of Taiwan to further their education or to work.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF PING TUNG PEACE CHURCH|
Undaunted, Ge and his leaders continually sowed into the lives of the members. Many of these students became so committed that they chose to stay in Ping Tung Peace Church, returning faithfully week after week, even if it meant traveling long distances to attend church service. It is this extraordinary love and commitment of the members that is testament of how much the church has been a blessing to them.
Today, Ping Tung Peace Church enjoys unprecedented growth and blessings. The church has grown continually year after year, from a small membership of about 50 members in 2003, to 900 members today.
Ge says: “I am very grateful to God for giving us the opportunity to work with Kong and City Harvest. This partnership has been a great blessing to us, and has helped us to break through tremendously.”
This year, the church looks forward to having a truly “greater” year: greater spiritual maturity, greater understanding of one’s personal identity and calling, greater devotion to God, greater campus revival, and greater sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.